Lass works her island magic for Seattle Shakespeare Company. (photo courtesy John Ulman)

Hello, kids. I’m back from vacation. Hope you’re at least as rested and ready for play as I am…

THEATER
Keep tabs on Susanna Burney if you’re looking for a name to watch among local directors. Her production of Sam Shepard’s brooding Eyes for Consuela opens this week—and, as with all shows at Burney’s Our American Theatre Company, it offers pay-what-you-can prices for every performance.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novelization of his own experiences as a airmail pilot, Night Flight brought the author to critical acclaim in 1931 long before 1943’s The Little Prince. Legendary producer David O. Selznick gave it an awkward but star-studded film adaptation two years later—featuring Clark Gable, Helen Hayes and John Barrymore—but the story’s philosophizing could make for beautiful music in Myra Platt’s new Book-It Repertory Theatre operetta.

I’ve spent well over a decade watching him and I can’t recall Michael Winters ever giving a bad performance—I’m a persnickety S.O.B., too. Winters as Prospero is one good excuse to watch The Tempest again. Other reasons: Director George Mount, who did a bang-up job with Julius Caesar several seasons ago in the park, and the usually bewitching Hana Lass (recently in Intiman’s Crime and Punishment) as Prospero’s magical servant Ariel.

CLASSICAL
You can have Tchaikovsky’s elaborate version, but put me on the side of Prokofiev’s Suite for Romeo and Juliet, which Seattle Symphony plays on Thursday and Saturday. It’s a more plaintive and passionate rendering of the story’s emotions—and it’ll prime you for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s remount of its stirring R&J, which uses the Prokofiev score, in the fall.

DANCE
Speaking of PNB, this is your last chance to sample its Director’s Choice program which, on Thursday night and Sunday’s matinee, features James Moore as the shirtless half of a pas de deux set to Arvo Pärt. (What? I’m not allowed to play favorites? Why have a blog?)

CONCERTS
Musicians too fond of whimsy can be annoying but Jens Lekman, who’s at the Croc on Thursday and Friday, seems genuinely committed to his eccentricities. He may or may not think it’s off-kilter to make a contemplation of his Iraqi hairdresser (“When Shirin does her magic on my frizzy straws/Immigration and tax representatives stumble upon their laws”) sound like an AM radio swoon, but the winning salute feels heartfelt either way.

FILM
Thursday at the Northwest Film Forum allows a final screening of the crisp 1974 thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, a subway-hijacking flick that Hollywood has now remade with explosions and John Travolta as the lead villain. The original had no explosions and Robert Shaw. Don’t need the pyrotechnics and though Travolta may be having a good time I doubt he’s convincing: If John Travolta got surly with me I’d call the police; if Robert Shaw threatened to off the passengers of my subway I’d start ordering the coffins.

Local Lynn Shelton’s much-discussed Humpday takes a bow at the Seattle International Film Festival on Friday and Sunday. And Warhol icon Joe Dallesandro is scheduled to make an appearance at SIFF in support of the documentary Little Joe. The pedestrian tribute doesn’t dig too far beneath Dallesandro’s celebrated skin—he’s the only person interviewed and is expert at what might best be called frank evasiveness—but, then, there are plenty of celebrated skin clips to enjoy: The man was the most unselfconscious sex god in the history of cinema.

BOOKS & TALKS
Terry Gross has probably interviewed everybody I’ve interviewed and I’m man enough to admit she’s undoubtedly done a better job. She’ll talk about her years on public radio at the Paramount on Friday. I’d really love to know who rubbed her the wrong way.

SPECIAL EVENTS
Sure, there are fun films and merchandise at the Crypticon Horror Convention but unashamed geeks should find true joy in the opportunity to meet real Hollywood survivors. Among many others: Adrienne Barbeau, who was eaten in Creepshow (I’m saving Friday’s blog for you, Adrienne); Adrienne King, who was ice-picked in Friday the 13th Part II; and sassy Nancy Loomis, who was strangled in Halloween’s most disturbing death throes.

Ah, the joys of summer.

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